In framed cabinet construction, component parts make up the sides, back, top, and bottom of the cabinet. These parts are then joined together and attached to the face frame, which is the primary support for the cabinet. Doors and drawers are fit in one of three ways: flush with the frame (called “inset”), partially overlaying the frame (called 1/4 overlap or lip), or completely overlaying the frame. Framed cabinets are easy to install because they do not have the minimal door clearance tolerances found in the frameless method of cabinet construction. However, this method of construction has less interior storage space, because the interior size of drawers or roll-out accessories is smaller than the overall width of the cabinet.
In the frameless method of construction, due to their thickness, the case parts form a box that does not need a front frame for stability or squareness. Doors and drawers cover the entire face of the cabinet. The major advantages of frameless construction are total accessibility to case interior and the clean, simple design statement made by the finished product.
Framed vs. Frameless